Migori County has set aside Sh. 6 million to deal with Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affecting the county.
The County Director of Public Health, Mr. Kennedy Ombogo, said that it was the first time the County was allocating resources to deal with neglected tropical diseases such as Bilharzia and intestinal worms.
Ombogo said that NTDs are assorted groups of more than one condition that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas. NTDs are caused by a multiplicity of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins that cause devastating health, social and economic consequences in areas affected.
He noted that bilharzia was becoming a threat to the residents of Suna West and Nyatike Sub-counties which borders Lake Victoria.
Ombogo said that Nyatike and Suna West Sub-counties were among the top hit counties because of the existing water bodies infested by vectors carrying bilharzia.
He explained that the health facilities in the Sub-counties had reported increased cases of bilharzia symptoms that need a quicker intervention before the disease causes more harm to the affected Sub-Counties.
The Official said that the Department of Health was in the planning stages of rolling-out a sensitization campaign and awareness among the population.
“If 20 per cent of people in a Ward or Sub-county are affected by bilharzia then the entire Sub-county will have to be treated to prevent the spread of the disease”, said Ombogo.
The Coordinator, Migori County Neglected Tropical Diseases, Mr. Nicholous Makworo, said that the County will soon conduct consistence surveys for the next three years to ascertain bilharzia infection.
Makworo emphasised that they have started awareness campaigns in schools to educate the children on preventive measures in containing the disease.
He said that although it was the duty of the County Government to ensure its people are safe, the residents should also play their part in improving their general hygiene.
Makworo also asked the residents to desist from defecating on water bodies to curb the spread of the bilharzia.
Migori 2014 bilharzia infection statistics showed that 27 per cent of people living in Migori County were suffering from bilharzia.
Last year the Kenyan Government received a drug donation worth Sh. 5 billion from World Health Organisation (WHOs) to fight neglected tropical diseases such as bilharzia and intestinal worms.
By Geoffrey Makokha